The Olympic Games have historically been an effective way of bringing people from all corners of the world and all walks of life together. The Earl Brackin Band, a bluegrass group from Dalton, was invited to play at the Sochi Winter Olympics, and after a pitstop in Moscow, performed at the Winter Games this past February. Now back in the States, the group will perform a free concert at Dalton State College Saturday, April 12, at 7:30 pm in Goodroe Auditorium of Gignilliat Memorial Hall.
“I've known and worked with Earl Brackin over the years in his capacity as a church music director, but I had no idea what a great bluegrass band he led until I started seeing videos on Facebook from their recent trip to the Sochi Olympics,” said Dr.
Ellie Jenkins, assistant professor of music at Dalton State. “They sound fabulous, and I'm so excited to host them at the College.”
The Earl Brackin Band (named after Earl Brackin, who provides vocals and plays guitar for the band) includes Tod Brock on the fiddle, Bea Brackin on vocals and the dobro, Ken Hamilton and Justin Parris on the banjo, Jared Spier on vocals and the bass, and David Taylor on the mandolin.
Mr. Brackin is the music minister for Church on the Hill in Dalton and has arranged and written commercial jingles, taught in public and private schools, performed with the bluegrass band Spatial Effects, and released a solo album, “Looking for a Story” in 2011.
Mr. Brackin was approached to travel to Russia for the games in February of 2013, when the president and CEO of Harmony International, an organization that coordinates tours and projects for performing groups and church organizations, suggested that Mr. Brackin participate in the Engage Sochi project. The program was aimed at drawing in crowds, reaching out with the organization’s ideals, and trading pins at the games.
“Trading pins is such a big thing during the Olympics,” said Mr. Brackin. “The organization felt that since a bluegrass band didn’t need electricity, it would be a great way to engage the crowd and hand out pins.”
The Earl Brackin Band enjoyed success at the games, playing a number of concerts in Russia. After stopping to perform in Moscow, the group played by request at the Mayor’s Plaza arena, the USA House in Olympic Park, and a cruise ship docked for the Olympics. The band was joined on their trip by Stephanie Brock, Jenny Godwin, and Dr. Lynn Murphy, retired assistant professor of education at Dalton State College.
“The people fell in love with the bluegrass sound,” says Mr. Brackin. “The most fun for us were the ‘mini-concerts’ we performed in which we played a short, three to four song set. It was nice to relate to the Russian people through our music.”
The Earl Brackin Band’s free performance will begin at 7:30 pm in Goodroe Auditorium of Gignilliat Memorial Hall at Dalton State College. The concert is open to the public, and seating is first-come, first-served.